House passes bill to oversee VA hospital building


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WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has passed a bill to increase oversight of veterans' hospitals under construction, following a report that some medical centers take three years longer to complete than estimated and cost an extra $366 million per project.

Republican congressman Mike Coffman of Colorado says the Veterans Affairs Department's oversight of construction projects is dysfunctional and leads to delayed health care.

A report by the Government Accountability Office last year found that at least four medical centers were behind schedule and hundreds of millions of dollars over budget. The hospitals are in Las Vegas, Denver, New Orleans and Orlando, Florida.

The House bill would require the VA to appoint a project manager from the Army Corp of Engineers to oversee construction projects that cost more than $60 million.

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